JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP/KSDK) - The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled against a Highway Patrol trooper's same-sex partner who sought survivor benefits.
Patrol Cpl. Dennis Engelhard died in December 2009 when he was struck by a vehicle while investigating an accident on Interstate 44 in Eureka.
Missouri law entitles surviving spouses of Highway Patrol officers killed in the line of duty to an annuity. Engelhard's partner, Kelly Glossip, did not receive the benefit.
In a 5-2 ruling Tuesday, the Supreme Court said Glossip was denied benefits because he and Engelhard were not married - not because of his sexual orientation.
The court noted that Glossip had not challenged Missouri's prohibition of same-sex marriage.
The legal director of The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri says the decision and reasoning behind it is disappointing.
"Treating gay and lesbian couples and gays and lesbians differently is unfair and hurts people. Making benefits contingent on marriage and then excluding gay and lesbian people from marriage is discrimination plain and simple and the state of Missouri needs to find a way to recognize same sex couples and respect their relationships," said Tony Rothert with the ACLU.
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